Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tweaking E-Verify

With the election just weeks away, the economy reeling, and the future looking anything but bright, the rhetoric regarding employment verification has cooled a bit of late.  But one thing remains clear: E-Verify, love it or hate it, seems to be solidly established as the federal government's solution for the foreseeable future.  How E-Verify plays out reveals the very complex nature of the subject matter, and opinions are anything but what you'd expect them to be. 

Take FAIR, the Federation for Immigration Reform, one of the more rabid critics of the government's immigration policies.  Given the error rates cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and FAIR's historical distrust of the USG, one would expect its position on E-Verify to be negative.  Yet in early August, FAIR referred to E-Verify as:

"...a highly successful program that allows employers to verify
electronically that workers are legally eligible to be work in the U.S.
"

Hmm.  Meanwhile, SHRM, the nation's leading human resources organization, represents employers nationwide and has tremendous resources dedicated to workforce compliance via both national and state chapters.  But instead of working diligently to educate its members on how to best work with E-Verify, the organization wasted most of 2008 pushing a rather ill-conceived alternative and deeming E-Verify a complete and utter flop.  Their proposed "solution" would have trashed all the progress made via E-Verify.

The truth is simple, notwithstanding all the hyperbole from the various lobbyists and interest groups:  E-Verify is fundamentally sound but needs more work.  The DHS has invested a lot of time and energy into developing it and, for ONCE, the USG deserves credit for reaching out to organizations like i9 Advantage in helping us improve our employer solutions through better integration with E-Verify. 


Here's an idea, folks: let's start working together to develop the private sector tools which truly make E-Verify an integrated, effective part of employment verification.  Let's educate employers.  The government is doing its job pretty well, I'd say, and companies like ours are working very hard to develop the solutions employer needs. 

Perhaps if we spend less time trashing and more time tweaking, we can get this baby up and running the way we need it to run to both prevent unauthorized employment AND protect the good companies trying so hard to comply with the law.

J



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